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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

of the Soviet system, rather than to remove it. They did^not"wish to
anticipate the tragedy which would unfold in those countries of Europe
' liberated ? from the Germans by the Red Army.
The first sign observed by a few far-seeing statesmen appeared on Dec-
ember i, 1941., when Moscow informed the Polish Government that she
still considered Eastern Poland to be Russian territory. The curtain
finally rang up on March i, 1943, when the Soviets made it clear that
they considered the e Molotov-Ribbentrop Line ' (the Russo-German
frontier of 1939) as the determined Russo-Polish frontier. Thus,
according to Moscow, the agreement between the two invaders (the Soviet
Union and Germany) was the one which should be valid, despite the fact
that one of the contracting parties had already destroyed this particular
agreement by its subsequent attack of the other. In demanding the
surrender of Poland on March i, 1943, the Kremlin virtually pro-
nounced the Atlantic Charter to be nothing more than a meaningless
scrap of paper. Thus Poland., deprived of one third of her inhabitants
and reduced to one-half of her size would, at the very most, constitute a
helpless vassal under Russian domination. The order of Eastern and
Central Europe was to be transformed and., together with it, the existing
order of the whole of Europe. The diplomats of the United Nations and
their Press did not want to believe, indeed dared not realise, what this
Russian step portended. They preferred to read some temporary mis-
understanding into Moscow's severance of diplomatic relations with the
Polish Republic. At this time only a small minority were at variance with
this general wishful thinking. Only a few recognised the fact that the
over-lords of the Soviet Empire had begun the greatest offensive in
Russian history, an offensive against the West, preached by Lenin and
put into practice by Stalin. There had, indeed, commenced a new
chapter in world history which might well be called cc Moscow versus
Europe ! " Not Hitler's enslaved Europe, whose days were already
numbered and who was but a transient phenomenon in the life of one
generation, but that ancient Europe, that cradle of Western civilisation
and Christianity, and the seat of a multitudinous State organisations;
the Europe of countless independent currents of human thought
which had always made her the beacon of a free world.
In this offensive, the enemies of the Kremlin were not only its German
competitors but those other nations of Europe who were united in an un-
willingness to recognise Soviet domination and the supremacy of its
system, and included any of those countries behind the mainland of Europe
who were interested in the preservation of its existing order.
After rallying from the first shock of the German blow, Russia began to
sift her friends from her enemies, not merely with reference to the akeady
existing war, but with a more far-sighted vision reaching past the defeat
of Germany. Viewed in this perspective Poland (and not only Poland)
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